PC29 Don’t be a Gossip

Don’t be a Gossip. We examine the sin of gossiping and slander in the light of the Word of God. This study guides our thoughts.

Por David Cox

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 Proverbs 20:19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore, meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.

Leviticus 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.  

The definition of gossip is a person who repeats news or rumors, even murmurings or conversation that hurts other people’s image, when these people are absent and cannot defend themselves. It is a cowardly form to speak about others behind their backs (or being absent) in order to discover something (true or false) about them that they would not say in front of that person to their face because it is insulting or would humiliate the person. Gossip is an attack against the person they are talking about.

The most important and most underappreciated point about the Christian faith is in relation to others, that we should show love and affection, and this is destroyed by gossip. God rewards communion, brotherly love, because he designed the Church so that the brethren would edify each other and not destroy each other.

What is Gossip?

We understand that God never planned a Christian to walk alone in the world, nor should his life be empty. If he is alone, he is not what God has wanted him to be. For the Christian who confesses Jesus as his Savior, the final objective is his faith and hope living in his life. Equally, the Christian always should witness wherever he is. Any Christian without a church or fellowship with other Christian brethren is going to influence others such that they would form a community of faith, in other words, a local church. But Satan will discourage the lonely Christian so that he doesn’t witness, and Satan opposes the formation of churches.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

When there are Christians getting together on the Lord’s Day every Sunday, they will be edifying each other as the Lord wants. Their spiritual force will grow with strong prayer, with exhortations and praises, and the love of God will be shown vigorously. This is where Satan inserts gossip to reveal information about particulars in this community. (1) “Do you not know what that person said about you?” (2) “Hey, I heard that this single girl is pregnant and had an abortion!” (3) “The pastor didn’t greet me, so I am depressed. Perhaps he has personal problems with his wife, or he is misusing his money and is going bankrupt!” These gossips are pleasant conversations for many, and people think that it is perfectly alright to repeat them over and over. But whatever type of gossip that degrades others, that destroys the brotherly harmony, that astutely plants distrust, contentions, and antagonisms between people is just wrong. It is gossip. Because of the effect of this on people, God has directly prohibited gossip (Leviticus 19:16). It is an outrage.

Leviticus 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.

The Character of the “Gossipy” Person

To gossip is a kind of murmuring against others, and it is an aggression against those people. God is represented by the truth, and God’s children should uphold love and have preference for the truth. Speaking only what is true, because their salvation revolves around the truth of God, and their Savior is very much founded in truth.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Jesus taught that embracing the truth with all your life, energies, and heart, you will be free from sin and the punishment sin carries with it. Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: But the Christian life is based in following the truth with the love. This love is what a person shows towards his neighbor, and love is not hurting other people or their reputation by your words.

John 3:21 But he that DOETH TRUTH cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

The essential point of our salvation is this love directed towards wanting to know and living in your own life this truth of God. You “do the truth” with your life. Truth is a moral principle then. This means rejecting everything that is outside of truth. Truth here means a moral principle. Paul explained that there were some in his day, who pretended to be saved, but they never really obtained true salvation,

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

The gossiper is full of falsehood (Satan is the father of lies John 8:44), but the son of God should not tolerate exaggerations and lies that damage the reputation and dignity of others. We dwell with the truth as the center of our lives.

Proverbs 11:12 He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.

The gossiper is a person who despises others, entertaining himself and others at the expense of others. He verbally kills others using cold knives of words without love.

When he accuses others of wrongdoing, or foolish living, he himself becomes a literal devil (Revelation 12:10… for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God, day and night.) The most cherished work of Satan is to defy God by bringing before God reports of his children and their faults, failing, and foolish lives. (“Foolishness” is a vain thing, something that does not correspond to a real view of eternity, which does not invest in an eternal good for those involved. We invest in eternity, or we waste time, energy, opportunity, etc. on vain things which do nothing for us in eternity. It includes mindless chatter, which is a lot of gossip.)  By showing God how his children are not worthy of their Father, he discredits God. The gossiper is a puppet of Satan, doing his work for him.

The Companions of Gossip

Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity (malicious disposition); whisperers, 30 Backbiters, (backbiters speak evil of other openly, whisperers secretly, i.e. like in gossip) haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

The character of a gossiper is woven in these companions of gossip, for example, he speaks vain things (“look at Anne’s dress! What horrible colors!”), he murmurs or complains against others, he is a detractor (attacks others in underhanded ways), he is jealous, invents evils or ridiculous things, or brings to the notice of others whatever serves this purpose, unfaithful (think of friendships and Christian brethren), etc. Paul linked in 1 Timothy 5:13 gossiping with getting involved with what isn’t your business. In the end, whatever damages your neighbor, and you identify yourself as a person that isn’t showing love for others (the object of your gossip) is not the attitude or activity of a Christian. Gossip helps a carnal person to think that he is spiritual, because he or she is “not so bad or foolish” as the person that they are gossiping about.

Controlling your Tongue is
a Mark of a Christian

James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

James declares that salvation and worship of God, without control over the sins of the tongue, is the sign of an unsaved person, a hypocrite, of a vain person (devoid of real spirituality). Simply put, the Christian should control his tongue and never speak what a Christian shouldn’t speak.

Proverbs 13:3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

Those who like painful and negative words to flow from their lips about others are probably unsaved and/or carnal, they are not good Christians, and much less are they spiritual.

By our words we establish what is in our heart. The Christian should always “bridle his tongue.”

Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

To live the Christian life is to keep your heart (and what flows from it), because the source of everything coming out of you is your heart, and it is seen in your words.

The Remedy for Not Gossiping

Psalms 101:5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.

King David rejected gossipers and slanderers from his friendships and even his presence. He declared that he was against these kinds of people, and that he would not allow them as his friends or associates.

Firstly, for “innocent people” who listen to gossip and slander, why do you allow people to say bad things that don’t have anything to do with you? To participate in this sin is to be condemned with the person doing the gossiping and slandering.

Secondly, we should hate gossip. We should judge harshly whoever spreads gossip. If somebody talks about somebody else in a despising manner, we should not even allow them to start. We should just refuse to hear it. Cut them off as soon as it begins. If whatever somebody says about another person is in a bad light, it is bordering on gossip or slander. Teachers, pastors, medical personnel, and some public servants have as part of their job description the correcting or helping of others, and for them, their job is to get involved in the lives of other people. That is fine. But with this job description comes the standard that they should not divulge what they know or information they are privy to in their work to other people who have no business knowing this information.

Thirdly, there is nothing like being honest and speaking in love. We tell the truth, but love moderates what we say and how we say it. There is no reason for you to divulge other people’s secrets to third parties. Our words should not harm or defame other people. Think before you speak, if this person which I am wanting to talk about were present before me as I speak, would I say the same thing the same way? Will these words harm or defame the person I am talking about?

Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

If we understand the importance that God puts on what we say, understanding that our words will justify or condemn us before God one day, then we would have great care and simply not say anything.

Psalms 15:1 LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

Evidently God does not want a gossiper nor slanderer in heaven. That is something to meditate on. So then, this important question burns in our hearts, why would you want to gossip? What purpose does it serve? Why do you indulge in speaking gossip and slander or in hearing it? Shouldn’t the Christian keep himself or herself from all forms of gossip and slander? Shouldn’t we keep ourselves free from this sin, not doing anything to harm our neighbor or our neighbor’s reputation?

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